The whole thing started because I wanted to “go on vacation” with my friend. And off we went to the Seychelles. It’s gorgeous, with beaches that look better than any travel brochure could show, and wild cinnamon forests, with pine groves feathering down to tropical turquoise, palm lined beaches. Our hotel was small and exquisite and the food was great.
It was apparently quite a big mistake to go over to La Digue, a more remote island; and supposed to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. No private cars. Completely unspoiled beauty. I wanted to see the vanilla plantation, but instead, I got appendicitis!
If you’re familiar with the Seychelles you might think that they have some highly developed heath care system to deal with the rich foreigners who cavort at their resorts.
Maybe those resorts do have clinics on site. But if you’re not in one of those resorts you can take your chances in their Public hospital system. I got the medical helicopter ride back to Mahé.
Once in the actual hospital the surgeons were good, and the surgical ward was ok, too, except there are different rules...like, bring your own gown, and towel and sundries, and anything else you may need. This might be a problem if you’re traveling and your traveling companion cannot function responsibly.
Ah yes, this is what happened. At first I put it down to her limited English-but it wasn’t that. I had done everything on the trip, of course: booked the hotel, rented the car, driven the car, figured out where we were going, read the maps, ordered the food, etc. It wasn’t a big deal before that shit hit the fan, because I usually travel alone and I always do all that stuff anyway.
I don’t want to rag on her--it was my fault for not seeing the situation clearly. She is who she is and I can’t get seriously angry. But it was a shock and I was pretty upset, through the morphine haze, because it’s just not cool to have emergency surgery in a country you’ve never been in and not have anyone to help you! She didn’t even know how to send a text message on her own phone.
The surgeon wound up extending our visas (they expired the moment our flight was scheduled!) The nurses tried to help my friend, and all to no avail. So of course I began to feel like I would die of disinterest, incompetance and neglect and I had to get right up after that surgery and start hobbling around to get us out of there and back to Oman.
Of course there were complications with the surgery--the appendix ruptured and I’ll just leave out the descriptions of that. But it’s disgusting. I got a proper appendix scar, no laproscopy for me, thank you very much.
I’ve been to Africa twice and both times I lost an organ!!
Is this normal? I think not.
The first time was after 6 weeks living rough in West Africa and my gallbladder was removed at the public hospital in Mumbai a day after I arrived--that’s Bombay Hindu Hospital. Now it’s the Seychelles and Victoria Casualty hospital.
So is the third time a charm? Or will it be a kidney? Depends on how lucky I feel I guess.
I was supposed to rest for at least a week. And I admit I’m hard to force into things; this was no exception, as I had to get us out of there. Even texts are prohibitive in the Seychelles--I had to keep asking my friends in Oman to put credit on my phone, again and again.
Back in Salalah I had only a few days before flying to America--the restaurant needs ice cream! I have visitors waiting at the Crowne and they want to see a distillation. The myrrh had to be distilled! Friends with crises, running running running and packing up everything to bring it back here to New York.
After running full bore for three and a half days in Salalah, I managed to get to the airport in plenty of time for my 1 am flight only to find that the airline had made some unfathomable mistake and not only did I not have a ticket, but I would have to buy another, and there were no seats in any case. So the flight to Muscat became an endurance test, to Muscat, to Doha, to New York, where I landed in the middle of a hailstorm.
My conscious and unconscious seem to fuse--hallucinations break in to my thoughts like when you just start to fall asleep. At last on my couch, in my house....If I’m supposed to send you something or answer an email.....I’m movin slowly wallah